Student by Day, Author by Night

Senior writes her first novel


Photo by Submitted

Depicting the world she wishes to create, Whitney Flach (12) sketches a map to use while writing her novel. The book started in January of this year, and Flach has already planned for the future. “I intend to let Kate [Maddison (12)] read it because she’s an editor and stuff,” Flach said, “so I want her to look over it and see if there’s something she would change.” Photo provided by Whitney Flach (12).

Once the school day ends, most students leave to work on extracurriculars, jobs or class assignments. However, Whitney Flach (12) finds time to do all of this while also writing her own novel. She started the project almost a year ago and she has continuously added chapters since then.

“I’m writing a fantasy novel that is an ‘Alice and Wonderland’ retelling,” Flach said. “It’s about this girl who, after her grandfather passes away, falls into this realm of fairies and all the different fantasy creatures. She has to help keep the world from going to war because there’s a civil war that’s starting and she wants to protect that world. What makes it really interesting is that this world she fell into is the world her grandfather created in the book that he wrote. So, these are all these characters that her grandfather created and knows.”

Since beginning the book, Flach has talked to her peers for inspiration and opinions. One of her close friends, Amber McCarthy (12), has heard all about the novel and can’t wait to read it.

“It’s just at the beginning stages,” McCarthy said, “But the book sounds extremely promising.”

The idea for the book derived from a social media post on a writing account. Flach found the prompt and tweaked it to fit the plot she desired.

“I got the inspiration from an online post or writing prompt and I changed it quite a bit,” Flach said. “But the prompt was like, ‘What if you fell into a portal for a book that you created?’”

Flach reads many fantasy books in her free time, which has caught the attention of many of her friends including Caitlyn Woodall (12).

“I see Whitney reading all the time, so it doesn’t surprise me that she’s writing a book,” Woodall said. “I think the book is going to be great ‘cause she reads so much and she’s really smart.”

Taking on the task of writing a full novel, though, can be a lot to juggle for someone that has a job and college-level courses.

“I pretty much only sit down and write whenever I’m done with all my homework,” Flach said. “If work is not busy, I’ll sit down and write some more.”

Flach has had time to learn how to balance all of these activities because she has also written multiple short stories and fanfictions. Be that as it may, this will be Flach’s first attempt at writing a novel which McCarthy has high hopes for.

“Her book is her passion,” McCarthy said. “She’s an amazing individual. She’s so intelligent too. The book is going to be top-tier. I can already say that it’ll be one of the top five books I’ve read in my life.”

In order to make this novel “top-tier,” Flach has looked back on her previous work and focused on what she needs to improve in as a writer.

“I love writing dialogue and I love it so much that I have to remember to write imagery,” Flach said. “I’ve written so many short stories before and people have read them and been like, ‘I don’t even know where they [the characters] are. I just know the conversation.’ So I’ve got to work on that, but I love dialogue.”

Another thing Flach loves is a specific scene she’s been planning to write since the first stages of her novel.

“When I first realized that I wanted it to be an ‘Alice and Wonderland’ retelling,” Flach said, “I knew that I wanted there to be some kind of tea party scene. I haven’t gotten that far, but I can’t wait to write the scene because every character is very sarcastic and just having fun.”

Since starting the novel, Flach’s friends have become inspired and McCarthy can not wait to see the end result.

“If her book is produced, I will read my first book this year. I have not read a single book this year, but I will read her book because I like her and I like the kind of books that she is planning to write.”

When the book is completed, Flach does have plans to get it published. Through working on the novel, she’s seen how strong her love of writing is and how much she wishes it to be a part of her future.

“Once I finish the book I just want to send the manuscript out to as many publishers as I can find,” Flach said. “I know that I want to minor in creative writing. I also want to eventually be a published author because I enjoy it and it would be a great way to have my career.”

In the end, Flach has learned a lot about herself from her unique undertaking. She hopes many others will also see the power of writing and that her book will be successful.

“It’s a fun way to express yourself,” Flach said. “You get to create worlds that nobody else has heard of and it’s solely your own creation. It’s also a way to escape reality and not have to deal with school and work.”